Businesses Will Happily Give You HUGE Discounts if You Ask This Magic Question

Businesses Will Happily Give You HUGE Discounts if You Ask This Magic Question

Also known as “the magical six-word question that’s saved me $1,140 in the last three months.” Sounds like clickbait, right? But miraculously, this tip is 100% legit and may one day save your (financial) life.

It’s a special little secret called… the cash discount.

I’m a little wary of asking for discounts, especially from very small companies. When it’s just one or two people running the show, it means those one or two people spend an inordinate percentage of their time doing things they don’t like to do. Nobody starts their own business because they love filing quarterly taxes—they soldier through it for the 10% of the time running their business in which they’re actually doing the thing they love.

And every small business owner I’ve known has lost sleep over their pricing. (Us included!) No matter what you’re selling, there’s local and global competition for it, and consumers have tools now that didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago that allow them to find, compare, rate, and review similar services. The world is a buyer’s market, and it’s really hard to measure what you know your work is worth against what you know people are willing to pay for it.

So asking to pay less for the same product is almost always a wearying and unwelcome question… with one very special exception.

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Your Yearly Free Medical Care Checklist

Your Yearly Free Medical Care Checklist

If you are an American who is lucky enough to have health insurance, you almost certainly have free medical care coming your way.

Several annual and semi-annual services are available to you with no copay—and you have absolutely no reason not to use them. Technically, you have already bought them, as their cost is built into the premiums you’ve already paid. And your body will thank you for it! Even if you feel perfectly healthy, establishing a baseline of health will help your medical professionals detect problems early.

Pro-tip: don’t wait until the end of the year to do all this stuff! Every medical office I’ve ever been to is slammed during November and December as everyone tries to use up their benefits. Schedule it now to avoid the crush.

Here’s what you should be doing every year.

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A Guide to Sharing Finances with Someone Other Than a Romantic Partner

A Guide to Sharing Finances with Someone Other Than a Romantic Partner

In the past, when asked about sharing finances with someone other than a romantic partner, our advice has boiled down to one word: don’t.

There are two main reasons we’ve tended toward this perspective. First, many of the specific questions we’ve gotten on this topic have been, um… ill-advised? Often they’ve come from young people with limited life experience asking how to most expeditiously derail their lives. (“Myself and my four best friends are juniors in college, and rent in our city is super expensive, so we want to buy a house together! We haven’t been roommates yet, but we’ve all been best friends since grade school and have never fought about anything. None of us have credit yet. Can we all just co-sign five separate loans for each other? Thanks in advance!”) We will continue to answer such questions with a gentle yet robust one-two slap.

Sharing finances with someone other than a romantic partner is fine. BUT THIS GOES TOO FAR.

Reason #2 we’ve historically cautioned against sharing finances with someone other than a romantic partner?

Times were different.

Sooooooo much has changed since we started this blog. Political unrest, widening inequality, spikes in unemployment, a global pandemic, war, inflation, a new recession… during all this turmoil and strife, I’ve found it clearer than ever that none of us can weather these changes alone. Total independence is a luxury few can afford anymore.

Our systems are designed to make it easy and safe to share money with only two categories of people: spouses and immediate family members. If you don’t have—or want—those traditional ties, it puts a lot of pressure on you to fully and independently support yourself. And if there was ever an era in which that was doable and sustainable, that era has officially passed us the hell by!

Which means we need to reevaluate our stance on sharing finances with someone other than a romantic partner. We need to do better to legitimize chosen families and normalize community support. So today I’m offering a high-level overview of some of the best ways for sharing finances with someone other than a romantic partner.

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How to COMPLETELY Insulate Yourself From Advertisements

Man, let me tell ya, I hate few things more than advertisements.

Ads are the worst. They waste my time and attention. They make me feel spied-upon. Their fundamental purpose is to part me with my hard-won money. Worst of all, they remind me of my dark past working in marketing. I’m trying to leave that behind me, thank you very much!

You might remember this passage from high school…

“If any one unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song. There is a great heap of dead men’s bones lying all around, with the flesh still rotting off them. Therefore pass these Sirens by, and stop your men’s ears with wax that none of them may hear…”

It’s from Homer’s Odyssey. Specifically, it’s the part where the sorceress Bavmorda gives advice to Willow Ufgood (you know, the hero of the Odyssey) about how to navigate temptation.

Although she’s a rapscallion known for turning soldiers into pigs, Bavmorda is also a smart lady who gives pretty good advice. Willow ends up lashing Madmartigan to the mast of their ship while stopping his own ears (and those of the prophesied child Elora Danan) with wax.

The moral of this ancient epic poem? Sometimes, the best way to resist temptation is to physically stop yourself from experiencing it in the first place.

Here are some easy ways to make yourself harder to find—and harder to tempt.

Did he get an Oscar for this?
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How to Start Small by Saving Small

How To Start Small by Saving Small

“If you don’t start saving your money when you’re young, you’re going to die impoverished, overworked, and alone!” says every personal finance guru ever to young people just starting out in the world.

And while it’s only a slight exaggeration, this kind of enormous pressure can be overwhelming and demoralizing when you’re just starting to get your financial life under control and barely bringing in enough money to make ends meet.

So what’s a young, financially inexperienced person to do? What’s anyone with bills and debt to do with the specter of an empty savings account looming and no solution in sight?

The answer, as with most personal finance, is to start small. Because when saving, your little savings really do add up.

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You Deserve Cheap Toilet Paper, You Beautiful Moon Goddess

You Deserve Cheap Toilet Paper, You Beautiful Moon Goddess

In my short lifetime, I have heard more than one perfectly sensible person tell me they “can’t do” cheap toilet paper.

Rick knows how I feel.

I don’t know why people tell me these things.

It’s like they want me to cry out to Father Dagon and Mother Hydra and bid them raise an army of Deep Ones from the many-columned depths of Y’ha-nthlei to sweep over the land and drown the humans in a cosmic flood as recompense for their innumerable and unpardonable follies.

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My Cure for Aimless Wardrobe Syndrome: Manage Your Clothes the Same Way You Manage Your Money

My Cure for Aimless Wardrobe Syndrome: Manage Your Clothes the Same Way You Manage Your Money

Until very recently, I suffered from a pretty bad case of Aimless Wardrobe Syndrome.

I felt lost when it came to clothing. I assembled outfits at random. If I ever looked good, it was at the cost of 35 minutes of standing in my closet, hemming and hawing like an asthmatic donkey.

It seemed like a pretty insignificant problem. But eventually, I realized it was quietly harming me every dang day. I was wasting way too much time, money, and spoons deciding what to wear. And it somehow left me feeling worse about myself, not better!

This led me to develop a cure for my Aimless Wardrobe Syndrome. And in retrospect, it was so obvious that I’m sorta kicking myself for not figuring it out sooner.

It requires a bit of time to set up. But it transformed my daily life for the better. Since I developed this system, I’ve been shopping less, buying less, and spending way less time considering my options. And y’all know how I value my money and my time! Yet I also love everything I wear, and wear everything I love. It kicks ass.

Here’s my system. Steal it!

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5 Lies About DIYing I'm Seriously Sick of Hearing

5 Lies About DIYing I’m Seriously Sick of Hearing

Today we’re covering a subject near to my heart. Too near to my heart. Like a clogged aortic valve that’s ready to blow. It’s lies about DIYing!

This is a subject I’ve been dying to set the record straight on. Because the internet is busting at the seams with of lying liars and the lie-ful lies they lyingly lie.

Most beautifulest table.

Let me start off by asking you a question: do you like this table? Of course you do! It’s beautiful as shit. I made it myself and it only cost me $29.

(…Or did it?)

I found this poor wretch on Craigslist. It had a crust of chipping chalkboard paint—because apparently there are people who like to dine to a soundtrack of plates scraping across a blackboard?! Underneath, it was solid wood, sturdily constructed, fully disassemblable, and priced to sell at only $25. Like the conventionally attractive nerd in an early 90s movie, it only needed its glasses lifted off to become beautiful.

After sanding the old paint off, I took some glossy white paint I had leftover from another project and applied it to the legs. Then I stained the tabletop with a $4 can of Minwax stain obtained on clearance from my local hardware store. The result is a beautiful handcrafted table that you’d never know cost $29!

There’s only one catch…

I lied.
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How To Pay for College Without Selling Your Soul to the Devil

Listen you lazy, entitled whiners: it’s easy to pay for college. Just get a summer job! Why, in my day I worked weekends as a fry cook down at the diner on Main, graduated without debt, and now I’m sixty-five years old and completely delusional about the inflated costs of higher education! Ask me more about the house I bought for $60,000 and how much I resent the respectful empathy of the children I raised!

Sorry, y’all. Probably should’ve started that with a trigger warning.

Whenever we write about student loans, we get at least one comment like this. Except with more caps lock. We delete them. For while we never silence interesting criticism, come on. This ain’t a public square for every old man who wants to yell at a cloud! We pay good money for this web hosting!

At least where the cost of college is concerned, things aren’t what they used to be. Thirty years ago, it cost the modern equivalent of $8K per year to attend a public college and $18K per year to attend a private college.

Today, the same year of school would cost $21K and $48K. And you’re supposed to buy FOUR of them!

If the cost of regular goods and services grows at a steady walking pace, the cost of higher education is galloping away like a Triple Crown winner whose ass just met a hornet. I didn’t even mention the cost of textbooks, room and board, and other academic fees, which are all even worse. Can’t be giving you nightmares!

Meanwhile, average hourly wages have barely increased 11% (adjusted for inflation), making the wage-to-college-cost-ratio just fucking laughable. Yet college is still a barrier to entry into not only white collar jobs, but an ever-increasing number of blue collar jobs.

My purpose here is not to unpack the absurd inflation of higher education costs in recent years (I’d need another 2,500 words, and I can only hold your attention through so many gifs). Nor is it to debate the relative value of a college degree (another 3,000 words).

Instead, I want to focus on practical solutions for people who’ve already weighed their options and decided that college is right for them. Yes, a traditional four-year undergraduate degree is heckin’ expensive as fuck. Short of The Deep Magic, how do we mere mortals even attempt to pay for it?

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6 Proven Tactics for Avoiding Emotional Impulse Spending

You had a bad day. You’re takin’ one down. You sing a sad song just to turn it around…

… and so you go buy something.

The sweet release of “retail therapy” can feel like an injection of dopamine straight into the pleasure centers of your brain. Some even count it as self-care. For what can be more self-caring than to treat yo’self?

I know people who stress-spend like others I stress-eat cheese. The problem is that the euphoria that comes from buying something new—even if it’s fancy cheese and you really fucking deserve it because work sucked today—is short-lived, but the money lost to impulse spending is gone forever.

That brief high of retail therapy or impulse spending can waylay your larger financial goals and damage the delicate equilibrium of your savings, generating far more stress than you relieved with the purchase.

Yet being upset about a bad day doesn’t mean you have to throw your financial goals to the wind. And losing that money while trying to make yourself feel momentarily better is going to feel worse in the long run.

I’m sympathetic to the plight of emotional impulse spending. Which is why I want to help you find another way of making yourself feel better. One that doesn’t involve your meager paycheck.

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